Career advice

A strategy to gain confidence at work

Becoming more aware of your skills and strengths will give you more confidence in your present job or when applying for a new one

RCN careers coach Julie Watkins: ‘Those who play to their strengths are
more productive, happy and fulfilled.’

When you apply for a nursing role you will need to demonstrate the relevant skills and strengths required to do the job.

Knowing your own skills and strengths will help you to write a good CV and supporting statement and to answer interview questions more effectively. It can also enhance your performance in your present role.

At the RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fair in Birmingham on 12 March the RCN careers team will offer a new workshop called Skills and Strengths: Increase Self-Awareness and Enhance Your Career.

Defining skills and strengths

This one-hour interactive workshop is a great opportunity to identify your skills and strengths, talk them through with peers and help each other to find more skills and strengths – with help from an RCN careers coach.

A skill is something that can be developed or learned, such as venepuncture, or organisational and leadership skills. This can be done through on-the-job training or attending a specific event or course.

A strength is something you may have a natural predisposition towards, such as empathy or creativity. It is usually something you enjoy doing and are able to learn quickly.

Increase your self-awareness

Recognising what your skills and strengths are will help you to increase your self-awareness and self-confidence. Many nurses and healthcare professionals are quite modest about their achievements, but becoming more aware of your strengths, and how to draw on them, can enhance your career.

During the workshop we will use career coaching exercises that allow you time and space to reflect on a recent achievement, or a time when you felt you worked at your best. You should ask yourself if it was something about the situation, the team or the environment, or if you were using a particular strength that gave you a natural energy and enthusiasm.

Recognising your own skills and strengths will also help you to develop your expertise within your current or new role. Research suggests that those who play to their strengths are more productive, happy and fulfilled.

Happier and more fulfilled

If you are aware of what you are good at you can apply this when searching for a new job or use it to increase job satisfaction in your existing role.

By the end of the workshop you will have identified your strengths and have a better understanding of how you can use them more at work, or how you can develop an aspect of your work that uses your strengths.

The career coaching exercises used in the workshop will enable you to identify your skills and strengths, reflect on your current situation and agree actions to take forward. This in turn can make you feel happier and more fulfilled in your career, re-energise you and help you throughout the recruitment process.

Julie Watkins is RCN careers coach

At the RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fair in Birmingham on 12 March the RCN careers team will also be presenting seminars on how to prepare for and succeed at interviews and how to make your CV your own personal marketing tool. Click here for more information and to register for the event.

RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs FairsRCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fairs

RCNi Nursing Careers and Jobs Fairs are the largest CPD-accredited nursing recruitment events in the UK. Visitors can meet leading employers and agencies with immediate vacancies, and receive advice on finding a new job, revalidation, and climbing the career ladder.

If you're looking for a new job, or aiming to develop your nursing career, come along to our next event. Go to to book your free place today.

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